How to use eCommerce platforms to reach more customers
What is a third-party eCommerce platform?
This term covers a wide and diverse range of apps and websites. To put it simply, they’re online channels where customers can find you and complete purchases. They’re hosted externally, making them different from your business website or web store.
Typically, an eCommerce platform will manage and host online sales for your business in exchange for a fee. They can help you reach a new pool of customers on their own terms, where they’re actively looking.
Types of third-party eCommerce platforms
Here, we list some popular platforms your audience may be using to find businesses and complete transactions.
- Online marketplaces. For example, eBay, Amazon and Etsy.
- Hospitality industry platforms. For example, Uber Eats, Menulog, Skip and Deliveroo.
- Task and services platforms. For example, Hipages, Airtasker and Fiverr.
- Accommodation booking sites. For example, Airbnb, Stayz and booking.com
How customers are using third-party eCommerce platforms
According to the Telstra Business Intelligence report on Digital Marketing, 76% of consumers are using third-party platforms to buy online.
The report also indicated that:
- More than 50% of customers are using networks like Catch.com.au to find deals and bargains.
- Over 50% of customers are choosing to use platforms like Airbnb when booking accommodation.
- Approximately 40% of customers are using apps like Menulog, Uber Eats and Deliveroo when ordering food.
- And almost 20% of customers are using task-oriented platforms, such as Airtasker when they require help to ‘get things done’.
The benefits of third-party eCommerce platforms
Help improve customer reach
Some of the bigger eCommerce platforms, like Amazon, have millions of users. By appearing on these sites, you can benefit from increased exposure and visibility. You may start to reach new customers who would otherwise be unfamiliar with your business. Using third-party platforms can support you with growing your pool of customers and reaching more people. Which may help you generate more revenue.
Help improve brand awareness
Popular eCommerce platforms often have extremely large marketing budgets. This means they have the option to invest in costly marketing and advertising campaigns. Something that may be very hard to compete with on your own. When you use these platforms, you can piggyback off their innovative marketing efforts which could lead to an uptick in your sales.
Help improve customer experience
Selling on eCommerce platforms can help boost customer experience. This is because you’re essentially meeting customers where they’re already looking. This can make the purchase journey both simple and convenient. Customers may prefer to use a third-party platform over a business web store. This is especially true for ones they actively use. And trust and consider credible.
Things to consider when using third-party eCommerce platforms
Before you dive in, it’s important to understand which third-party platforms are right for your business. And where potential challenges may arise. While these platforms can deliver on opportunity, there’s also a few important aspects you should consider.
Below we breakdown some of the key considerations.
Often, there’s a cost involved with signing up and maintaining a presence on eCommerce sites. So you’ll need to weigh up whether the potential to reach new customers and generate more sales will justify the effort and cost required.
It’s also worthwhile considering if your current business operation can handle the potential increase in demand. Or a new influx in sales.
Think about whether there’s any processes you may need to change before joining a third-party eCommerce platform.
Another important thing to consider, is whether you trust the external platform to promote your business well and take care of your customers.
Unlike your business website, you lose an element of control when an external party is involved. This is why it’s worthwhile using third-party platforms that can integrate smoothly with the way you do business. If working well, a third-party platform should help streamline your business operation without compromising on the customer experience.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself
- Will the increase of new customers justify the cost and effort involved with using these platforms?
- Do I need to change any of my current processes before I start using these external sites?
- Do I trust the platforms I’m joining to look after my customers?
When it comes to third-party platforms there are so many different options to choose from. So staying on top of trends and research, will help you make informed decisions that are right for your business. With a bit of planning, third-party platforms can be a powerful tool for helping you reach new markets.
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